cover image Evita: The Life and Work of Eva Perón

Evita: The Life and Work of Eva Perón

Héctor Germán Oesterheld, Alberto Breccia, and Enrique Breccia, trans. from the Spanish by Erica Mena. Fantagraphics, $19.99 (72p) ISBN 978-1-68396-691-3

This hagiographic 1970s biography of Eva Perón (1919-1952) appears in English for the first time, part of an ongoing resurrection of originals by Breccia and Oesterheld (Mort Cinder). Conflicting reports of the “poor, uncertain origin” of Eva (renowned as Evita) are bantered through, but by 1935 she’s portrayed working as a radio actor in Buenos Aires and in 1944 is romantically involved with Juan Perón, a socialist colonel running the ministry of labor. Following the 1945 demonstrations that bring Perón to power, Eva draws support with rousing speeches. She flexes power for the populist agenda, creates a strong social welfare state, aides the passage of women’s suffrage, and tours postwar Europe to showcase Argentine alternatives to American financial support. Her long, grueling days and fervent dedication stumble in 1951, when illness saps her strength before her rapid decline and death. Present-tense narration gives a breathless, urgent quality to the arc of Eva’s many accomplishments, though the tendency to flit over time periods may trip up readers. The artwork is more of an illustrated biography than sequential art, but the stark black-and-white is crisp with powerful expressionist flourishes. It’s both a time capsule and a rousing paean to Evita’s socialist endeavors. (Mar.)